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Imanamalo

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IMG_8689.JPGBefore Baba Khumalo retired, he used to come home from work everyday and notice all the children in his community.  He wished that the kids had somewhere to stay where they could be nurtured and cared for, and where they could experience the love of Jesus.  But he wasn’t sure how.

Over the years, the Khumalos opened up their church, their home and their hearts to the children in Chibini.  In the past three years, the Khumalos have nearly doubled the size of their Sunday School, currently reaching 85 children in the community each week.IMG_8667.JPGHowever, Baba Khumalo was not content with only reaching children on Sundays.  Earlier in the year, Joseph Bode (CAST’s Education & Children’s Dev. HOD) and Zippy Benn, a CAST volunteer, suggested that the Khumalos start a creche out of the church where children could come everyday.

Bongani Mkhize, CAST’s Noodsberg Area Co-ordinator, connected the Khumalos with a local school principal who welcomed them into the local creche association.  By joining the association, the Khumalos were able to access training for their volunteers and ECD materials for the creche.

On 18 July 2016, Baba Khumalo’s wish finally came true – the Imanamalo creche was launched, with 27 children attending, from ages 0-4.

However, operating Imanamalo has not been without challenges.  Firstly, the church is a rondavel building, so it is very cramped for the children, and the roof leaks when it rains.  Also, the Khumalos have to take down all the ECD materials off the walls before Sunday because of church, then put it all back up again, and make sure the chairs for the church service are removed before creche starts on Monday.img_8560

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IMG_8551.JPGBaba Khumalo’s next wish is to build a separate building for the creche, so that the children have space to play and learn.  CAST is supporting this venture, and you can too by donating a few practical items:

  • Mattresses
  • Blankets
  • A big carpet for the children to sit on
  • Rice
  • Tinned foods (i.e. beans, Lucky Star)
  • Mealie Meal
  • Jungle Oats

Over the years, God has always faithfully provided for the Khumalos to reach children in their community. Please be in prayer as CAST partners with the Khumalos to impact more children with the love of Christ. If you are interested in getting involved or donating towards Imanamalo , contact Joseph Bode at: joseph@cast.org.za or 031 267 1716

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Meet the Coaches: Sibu & Jackie

In honour of the upcoming Youth Day holiday next week, CAST would like to introduce two of our new coaches working with youth in the community:

Sibu

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“Our aim is to change lives.”

Sibu’s heart for the boys in his community is evident.  Growing up without a mom, Sibu is able to identify with many of the boys in Noodsberg who don’t have a parent actively present in their lives.

Originally from Tongaat, Sibu ended up in Noodsberg fifteen years ago after he became very sick.  A gogo took him in and after Sibu recovered, the gogo saw Sibu’s potential for farming and encouraged him to pursue growing mealies.

When CAST brought Paradigm Shift to Noodsberg, Sibu was quick to join.  It was at business forum that Sibu learned all about networking, which motivated him to ask Bongani, CAST’s Noodsberg Area Coordinator, about volunteering with the boys soccer team.

Sibu knocked on Bongani’s office door at the CAST Community Centre and said, “Give me your boys!”

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Sibu (back row, on the right with soccer ball) and his team

True to his word, Sibu began training with the boys every weekday.  He coaches a large group of boys, ranging from 13-23 years old.  They train on a very small, informal pitch on the side of a field.  The boys barely have enough room to run, but they have come to really enjoy being part of a team and having a consistent coach.

Despite all the challenges, Sibu says of coaching, “I like to be among people and tell them how life is.”

Sibu also has a desire to give back to his boys by teaching them how to farm.  He wants them to not only be part of a team, but also develop a life skill they can use in the future.

Jackie

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A year ago, CAST started our very first sports team for girls.  This initial tennis team in KwaDabeka has led to another girls basketball team in that community, as well as a girls netball team in Chibini.

One of the challenges CAST’s Youth Development Department has faced is finding female coaches for these teams.  After posting a notice in the Westville Baptist Church bulletin for a tennis coach, CAST finally heard from a community member who was interested.

Jackie first approached CAST after hearing about the coaching opportunity from one of her friends who attends Westville Baptist Church.  Interested in development work, Jackie was happy to utilize her experience in tennis.  Under the direction of a new coach, the girls have grown in their tennis skills.

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CAST relies on volunteers like Sibu and Jackie, who are passionate about reaching out to youth in the community.  Without these volunteers, who consistently give of their time each week, CAST would be unable to run our youth programmes and offer sports opportunities to the youth.  All of our programmes at CAST are “grassroot” by nature, being run by ordinary people, for ordinary people, but in ways that bring extraordinary results.

CAST is still looking for a girls basketball coach in KwaDabeka.  If you are interested in coaching, please contact George Mwaura at george@cast.org.za or 0795967364.

In addition, this coming Tuesday, 16 June, CAST will be hosting a Youth Day Celebration at KwaDabeka Baptist Church from 10am-2pm.  Please feel free to join us as we celebrate the youth of KwaDabeka!

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Children’s Ministry in Chibini

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Chibini Baptist Church is one of CAST’s thriving rural partner churches. Since last year’s CAST holiday club in Chibini, Baba and Mama Khumalo have been overwhelmed by the growth of children coming to their Sunday School.

Several additions to their ministry have also increased the amount of children attending church.  First, the Khumalos received a bakkie, with which they are now able to transport more children from surrounding communities.

Second, the Khumalos organised a soccer pitch right above the playground that was donated last year during holiday club.  In addition, Baba Khumalo set up netball poles for the girls to play.

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These new sports opportunities have brought more children into the church to hear the Word of God.  Baba and Mama Khumalo have even started occasional “Sports Sundays”, where they share a short Bible message with the children, then invite them to play in a safe environment.

Please be in prayer for the Khumalos as they introduce more and more children to the love of Jesus.  In a community where many parents are absent due to work opportunities elsewhere, the Khumalos play a vital role in the lives of so many children.  Thanks be to God for providing for this CAST community!

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Coach Ostrich

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CAST’s Youth Development Team (left to right): Shaun (KwaDabeka Intern), Ostrich (Appelsbosch Intern), and George (Youth Development Manager)

Originally from Appelsbosch, Mazisi (also known as ‘Ostrich’) is no stranger to the challenges that face his community, especially for the youth.  Appelsbosch is located in the Ilembe district, neighbouring the other partner CAST communities of Noodsberg and Chibini.  High rates of teenage pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, and lack of activities and work opportunities keep the youth in this community from realising their potential.

As Ostrich explains, “Most youth from this area are not doing anything.  Guys finished with Matric are not going to college.  Their mindset is to go straight from Matric to work – that is all they know.”

After attending school in Pietermaritzburg, Ostrich decided to move back to his home community to make a difference.  Ostrich is a talented rugby athlete with extensive coaching experience.  This year Ostrich joined the CAST Team, and he oversees CAST’s sports teams in the local communities of Appelsbosch, Chibini, and Noodsberg.

Ostrich works from Appelsbosch Baptist Church.  An impressive 90 percent of the congregation is made up of young people, ranging from 15-25 years old.  Many of the church attendees are from the local college in Appelsbosch, a campus of Coastal KZN TVET College.  When George, CAST’s Youth Development Manager, provided two buckets of paint for Appelsbosch Baptist, Ostrich was able to organise these young people to paint the church walls.  P1020232

Ostrich still faces many challenges in launching a formal Youth Development Programme in Appelsbosch.  There are no fields in the area for sport, and Ostrich has struggled to get involved with youth in the schools.  However, he remains optimistic and realizes there is a need to meet with community members to build trust – specifically parents of the youth.

Please be in prayer for this exciting new opportunity to reach the youth of Appelsbosch!

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Captain Banda

Back in 2010, Banda was skinny and tall, just looking for a place to train in KwaDabeka. He started coming to CAST’s basketball practices with his friend Tukiso and found much more than just a place to shoot hoops.

Banda (in white, far left) with the CAST team in 2010

Banda (in white, far left) with the CAST team in 2010

Since he joined in Grade 10, Banda has grown up with his CAST teammates, learning about life in community. As Banda says, “Teamwork is a crucial thing. I’ve learned you need people to guide you, to give you that extra boost.”

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Off the court, Banda also participated in boys2Men Camp, learning more about what a father actually looks like, and how to be there as a parent for your children.

By the time Matric rolled around, Banda realized he couldn’t be on the team as much as he would like if he wanted to succeed in school. Banda was determined to do whatever it took to pass. His efforts paid off when Matric results were posted; he scored 4 A’s and missed the fifth A by one percentage point.

This same work ethic carried on with Banda as he chose to pursue Maritime Studies at DUT. However financial complications stood in the way to even begin classes.

After approaching CAST for assistance, Banda was able to cover his registration fees and begin classes. Determined to find a way to pay for school in the future, he applied for bursaries.

As he battled to cover his expenses, Banda began to feel as though he wouldn’t be able to continue at DUT; he didn’t receive his first semester results because of the outstanding fees.

Then finally, Banda’s big break came. Among five of his peers, Banda was chosen to receive a bursary for the following year’s school fees. In addition, Banda will receive training and employment to help cover some of his remaining school fees from last year.

Here at CAST, we believe in empowering willing and aspiring young people like Banda, living in under-resourced communities to realize their dreams and make a difference in their community. This year Banda is not only pursuing his dreams, but also giving back to his community by tutoring high school students involved with CAST’s Programmes in KwaDabeka.

If you are interested in supporting a young person like Banda financially, or through mentoring, please contact George Mwaura at george@cast.org.za to find out more about how you can get involved.

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Masked Ball Guest Speaker: Lerato Tsosane

This week’s blog is a sneak preview of CAST’s guest speaker at the Masked Ball tonight. Enjoy!

Lerato Tsosane’s journey to her position as Consulate General for Lesotho began long before she was appointed in 2012. Coming from a media background, Lerato began her career as a young reporter for Lesotho News Agency (LENA) and made her big break when she was promoted to the Current Affairs Department, producing and anchoring a show featuring debates between high profile political figures.

During this period she became popular for her feats on the airwaves, and this period coincided with the 71 day political protests followed by 1998 riots that saw a major turning point in the contemporary politics of the country.

It was during her position as a producer and presenter of this show that Lerato’s interest in politics first began. During this time, Lerato was appointed with a group of five other individuals to keep the state radio station in Lesotho up and running. Despite the danger involved, they managed to save the situation. It was because of this experience that Lerato decided to take politics as a second major during her studies at Rhodes University.

However, when Lerato lost her younger brother and her father in one week, suddenly, she fell into depression and decided to exit with BJOURN at Rhodes University. Eventually she returned to study at University of the Free State, and went on to graduate with a Master’s degree in Politics.

Apart from being on radio, Lerato has traveled extensively with Head of Government and Head of State reporting on official trips. She has been a member of Red Cross Society, and outreach programmes are not new to her.

She admits that her road to success was not smooth but she boasts her strong faith which she says kept her moving, “Challenges make me. It’s part of life. It is only through failure that you can appreciate success.”

Lerato is The Consul General of the Kingdom of Lesotho based in Durban, and serving the coastal regions of KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape and Western Cape, dealing mostly with issues of trade and Consular matters. Proud of Lesotho’s low crime rate, hard work towards balancing gender equality, and beautiful geographical situation, Lerato is passionate about her country.

Make sure to attend CAST’s Masked Ball this evening to hear more about Lerato and her incredible story!

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Thoko the Teacher

One of CAST’s most faithful volunteers, Thoko was more than thrilled to become a CAST intern at the beginning of this year. Thoko’s journey with CAST began in 2014 when he was working a part-time job and looking for a way to give back to his community. One Sunday morning Thoko came to Westville Baptist Church, with a CV in hand and hoping for a chance to volunteer. After hearing CAST’s Executive Director, Jean-Ray Knighton Fitt, speak during the service, Thoko knew CAST was the place for him.

Thoko is originally from the small country of Malawi. As Thoko explains, “Malawians are too nice. Everyone greets you. Malawi is a poor country, but its people are hardworking.”

True to his word, Thoko used his passion for teaching through volunteering at CAST’s Homework Club in Addington. Last year when Homework Club transformed into the new Wordworks Literacy Programme, Thoko was excited to get involved.

When children come to the programme who are struggling with reading and writing, Thoko finds it incredibly fulfilling to work with the students. While volunteering with students who have fallen behind requires some serious patience, Thoko believes any volunteer can find a sense of fulfillment from getting involved with CAST’s Literacy Programme. The more informal and fun learning environment allows students to make enormous improvement within a short amount of time.

As Thoko explains, “The Literacy Programme opens up a whole future to the kids.” Without adequate reading or writing skills, students struggle to succeed in every subject. The goal of CAST’s Literacy Programme is to help students with basic literacy and language skills that lay the foundation for overall academic performance.

CAST’s Literacy Programme is completely dependent on volunteers who give a few hours of their time a week. If you have a heart for kids and education, and want to get involved, just email Murry at: murry@cast.org.za to find out more. CAST provides Wordworks training that makes it easy to get started. The Literacy Programme runs on Tuesday and Thursday at Addington Primary School in Durban central.